LAFARGE has acquired a 39.9% interest in the capital of RH Cement Corporation, an investment of US$ 114 million, becoming the leading shareholder in the South Korean company, which will become known as Lafarge Halla Cement Corporation. The partnership with the Korean group, Halla, and an American pension fund, the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, will aid with the restructuring of RH Cement, which is facing indebtedness of roughly US$ 200 million at the beginning of 2000. This announcement follows an agreement concluded between the partners on July 13, 1999.
South Korea's fourth largest cement producer, RH Cement Corporation supplies roughly 11% of the domestic market. The company operates a cement plant using ultra-modern technology with annual capacity of 7.4 million tonnes. It is situated at Okke, in the northeast of the country, close to the sea, a location which is strategically beneficial for supplying markets on the Korean coast. In a context of economic growth of around 7% in 2000, the South Korean cement market has high potential, particularly in view of substantial infrastructure needs to be satisfied.
This investment in RH Cement Corporation forms part of Lafarge's development strategy in Asia. After earlier moves into China and Indonesia, the Group made substantial acquisitions in 1998 and 1999 in the Philippines and India. Its total cement capacity in the region will now exceed 15 million tonnes.
Following the acquisition of plants in Dongbu and Buksan in October 1998, Lafarge is also active in South Korea in the gypsum wallboard sector.
World leader in construction materials, Lafarge employs 66,000 people in more than 65 countries and generated annual sales of almost €10 billion in 1998. The Group holds top-ranking positions in each of its divisions: Cement, Aggregates & Concrete, Roofing, Gypsum and Specialty Products.
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